Esther Moriarty, 26.05.2016

When to say I love you? Choosing the right moment to share your love for the first time

How do know when it’s the right time to say ‘I love you’ to your partner? How long should you wait before you say these special three words for the first time? If you are uncertain over when to say ‘I love you’, follow this advice from EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine.

Some people believe in love at first sight. Others believe love takes time. Are you really in love or are you infatuated and swept away in the excitement? Should you blurt out "I love you" or should you wait a little longer? After all, shouldn’t you just say what you feel and let your emotions dictate your actions? In this article, our psychologist Salama Marine offers her advice on when it’s best to speak up and share your love for your partner.

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Jumping the gun can push someone away

To be the first person in the relationship to say ‘I love you’ can feel like a big risk; such self-disclosure makes you more vulnerable and may put your partner in an uncomfortable situation, especially if his or her attitude is different from yours. Of course, saying ‘I love you’ shouldn’t have to follow a timeline or stick to social rules, but if you say it too soon, your partner may not have as deep romantic feelings as you yet. They might start to feel that the relationship is unbalanced emotionally and get cold feet. Despite the fact that love has a capacity to grow, saying ‘I love you’ prematurely may result in a break up.

READ MORE: If you’ve recently been asking yourself ‘Does he like me?’ Here’s how you can find out if the man you’ve been dating is really into you

How soon is too soon to say ‘I love you’?

What is considered as a premature proclamation of love? In a recent survey, we asked our members when is best time to say ‘I love you’ for the first time to a new partner.1 The majority (49%) of the 5,300 survey respondents said 6 months was the ideal duration. In comparison, 9% would wait at least a year, whilst an eager 7% would drop the l-bomb after dating for just a week!

So, why is 6 months the optimum time to wait? Salama says, “if you say ‘I love you’ after a short period of time together, it could indicate that you are not seriously thinking about the meaning of the words or that the words are not that important to you. A true and deep love needs time to develop, so most people tend to be reasonable and wait a while before they say ‘I love you’.

READ MORE: Learn how to express your feelings through actions as well as words – Become a body language expert

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When to say ‘I love you’ for the first time?

Evidently, love does not stick to a particular set of timings or rules. You should only say these three meaningful words when you really mean them. Salama says that, “to fully mean ‘I love you’, you have to completely trust your partner.” Otherwise, if you say it and your partner is not ready to say it back, this can be hurtful, but if you trust your partner, you can be assured that they will say back when they really mean it.

Likewise, If your partner says ‘I love you’ before you are ready to respond in the same way, you shouldn’t feel pressured to reciprocate. Salama says that, “it’s important to also trust yourself and be confident in your own feelings in order to take the risk and say ‘I love you’ for the first time.

READ MORE: Further advice from Salama – How to build trust in a relationship

How often should you say ‘I love you’ to your partner?

Once you’ve caved in and said the three magic words, what’s next? Do you open the flood gates and profess your love daily, or leave ‘I love you’ for birthdays and the odd special occasion? In another survey of our members, over 12,500 respondents were asked how often they would ideally like their partner to say ‘I love you’ and, as it turns out, British people need to hear ‘I love you’ less than other English-speaking nationalities.2 Only 23% would like to hear ‘I love you’ on a daily basis compared with 73% of Americans!

Perhaps, it is just not in our culture to be so outspoken when it comes to declaring our love and Salama doesn’t think this is a problem. She says, “Saying ‘I love you’ is more efficient than any other phrase to show attachment and commitment. But saying it everyday can seem a bit excessive. The heavy meaning of the three words may be lost over time, that’s why it is best to be reasonable and save it for special moments.”

The majority of respondents (75%) said they would like to hear their partner say I love you a least once a week.

READ MORE: Want to build a stronger bond with your partner – Learn which of the five love languages they use

When will you next say ‘I love you’?

If you’ve been gearing up to say ‘I love you’ for the first time and you think you genuinely love your new partner, take Salama’s advice and share your true feelings with them. For all you know, they’ve been dying to say it too.

About Salama Marine:

Salama Marine trained at the Paris College of Psychological Practitioners, and is now a registered Psychologist helping people with their interpersonal relationships in the realm of love, sex and marriage. She has worked extensively within the online dating industry, and provides consultation to those wishing to connect with like-minded partners online.

Whether you’re dating in Aberdeen or Kent or anywhere in between, try local dating with us and meet exciting UK singles.

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